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Education and the Social Contract
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Another purpose for a free public education is to pass along the culture and customs of our society to the young. Every society has had some method of teaching children and youth the customs and traditions; enculturating the young has been seen as essential to the mutual understandings and accepted (often unwritten, unspoken) contractual agreements among member of the society.

Learning the larger cultural norms does not necessarily obviate the teachings of smaller groups--but it does enable the young to understand and participate more fully in the larger socity.

Here in Los Angeles we have a group of people--a tribe, if you will--whose forefathers settled here at least three generations ago. Yet the members of this group insist that their children be taught exclusively (in the public school!) in the language of the mother country; the secluded women never learn English at all. One wonders how they arranged it to be that way.

Those born here are Americans in law, by not in culture, by their own choice. Though I must say, having had to deal with the men of the group, they are not at all averse to accepting the benefits of citizenship and in fact will demand preferential treatment because once upon a time in a land far, far away they were persecuted.

Given their attitudes towards women, it has at times been difficult for me to negotiate with their representative(s). And impossible to communicate with the children, since they are forbidden to learn or speak English.

Members of the community do get jobs with public agencies and the community leaders insist that they be the conduits of information and resources.

One wonders about an insular mentality like that. Seems truly foreign to me.

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